Traffic court cases adjourned in BC due to coronavirus
Court cases have been adjourned in BC following the coronavirus pandemic. This means if you had a traffic, ticket or bylaw matter scheduled from today (March 18) to May 4, 2020, it has been adjourned. You do not have to attend court.
Court cases suspended due to coronavirus: what should I do?
All matters that fall in this timeframe will be rescheduled to a later date. You will receive notice of your new court date in the mail.
The notice will be sent to the address on file with the court. Until then you should monitor the Provincial Court of BC website for further updates.
What will happen next?
The disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak is unprecedented. Courts across the Province have closed in an attempt to delay the spread of the virus. While the rescheduling of traffic court cases will no doubt be problematic, the courts have made the right decision in the interests of public safety.
It is possible that there will be further adjournments to cases after May 4. If you have a court date coming up, you should continue to check the BC Provincial Court website.
My case has been delayed
It is likely that the decision to suspend courts will lead to significant delays to some matters. Cases may take longer than they otherwise should have. With this in mind, you should know that the decision in R. v. Jordan will not lead to cases being dismissed.
What is R. v. Jordan?
R. v. Jordan was a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision that set a framework for determining whether a court matter has been tried within a reasonable time. If an accused person’s matter is not tried within a reasonable time, the charges must be stayed.
The Jordan decision set a presumptive ceiling of 18 months from charges being laid to the end of trial for provincial court matters. If it takes longer than 18 months, it is automatically presumed the delay was unreasonable.
There are only exceptions to this presumption of unreasonableness: if the case was particularly complex or if there was a discrete event such as an illness or unexpected event at trial that caused a delay.
It is fair to say that coronavirus is an exceptional medical circumstance and as such any delays is creates to court matters will not count towards an R. v. Jordan defence.
In this case, the defendants sought to have their charges dismissed on the grounds of an unreasonable delay caused by a discrete event. The defendants had two separate defence counsels become ill in the course of the proceedings leading to delays. The BC Supreme Court judge found the delays attributed t the illnesses were not enough to amount to an unreasonable delay and dismissed the application to stay proceedings.
As lawyers we know the pressure and stress a looming trial can have on our clients. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is causing widespread disruption to normal life. Having your traffic court case adjourned in BC due to coronavirus is no exception. The BC Driving Lawyers will continue to work remotely and diligently on your case. You can reach us via the normal channels.